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Canaanite city in Israel

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Mageddo, Chanaanite city, called in Hebrew, Megiddo; in Sept., Mageddo(n); in Assyrian, Magiddu, Magaddu; in the Amarna tablets, Magidda and Makida; and in Egyptian, Maketi, Makitu, and Makedo.

Derivation.—Gesenius (Thes., p. 265) derives from root GDD which is in Hithpahel-“collect in crowd” (Jer., v, 7), and from which gedud-” troop”, is derived. Hence Megiddo- locus turmarum. Others derive from gdd-” cut”, and compare with kekoptomenos of Sept. at Zach., xii, 11. This suggests a survival of the name in the Nàhr-úl-Múqàttà`, the ancient Cison (cf. Smith, “Historical Geography of Holy Land”, p. 387

History.—Mageddo, situated on the torrent Qina, on the east of the Plain of Esdraelon opposite Jezrahel, commanded the central of the three passes that join the plain with the seaboard. This pass; which offered the best and shortest route from Egypt and the south to Northern Syria, Phoenicia, and Mesopotamia, was that commonly followed by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Philistines, Greeks, and Romans, and in modern times Napoleon’s passage slightly to the north was feasible only because no Mageddo threatened his rear. The same route served for caravans from the days of the “Mohar, the Egyptian traveller” under Rameses II (“Records of the Past”, II, 107 sq.; Max Muller, “Asien and Europa”, 195 sq.) and of St. Paula, A.D. 382 (“Life” by St. Jerome, IV).

As the key to so important a pass, Mageddo must have been fortified long before the invasion of Thotmes I, about 1600 B.C. Thotmes III after a vigorous forced march, defeated the Syrian princes rallied there under the prince of Cades, and on the following day stormed the place, which he declared to be “worth a thousand cities”. Traces of his assault are still visible on the ruins of the citadel (Muller, “Asien”, 275; “Records”, I, II, pp. 35-47). On the arrival of the Israelites Mageddo had a king of its own; they slew him, but the town proving impregnable was later subjected to tribute (Jos., xii, 21; xvii, 12, Judges, i, 27-28). Though situated in the territory of Issachar it was assigned to Manasses. The position chosen by Sisara for battle with Barac shows that Mageddo was friendly to him (Jud., v, 19). Solomon, who rebuilt the walls (III Kings, ix, 15; Jos., “Ant.”, VIII, vi, 1), assigned this with other cities to Banar the fifth of his governors (III Kings, iv, 12). In the fifth year of Roboam Mageddo was captured by Sesac (Shoshenq, I-XXII Dyn.), as seen from lists at Karnak (Maspero, “Histoire”, II, 774; Winckler, “Geschichte Israels”, I, 160, but cf.”Encyc. Bibl.”, s. vv. “Egypt” and “Shishak”). Following IV Kings, ix, 27, Ochozias died at Mageddo (but contrast II Par., xxii, 9). Finally early in the seventh century Josias tried to bar near Mageddo the advance of the Pharao Nechaotowards Mesopotamia and “was slain when he had seen him” (IV Kings, xxiii, 29-30; II Par., my, 22; Jos., “Ant.”, X, v, i; Max Mt’iller, “Mittheil. d. Vorderas. Gesell.”, III, 1898, p. 54; but against cf. Zimmern and Winckler, “Die Keilin. and A. T.”, 105, who follow Herodotus, II, clix). The mourning for this calamity became proverbial (Zach., xii, 11). The warlike reputation of Mageddo is perhaps confirmed by Apoc., xvi, 16.

Identification.—Mageddo is identical with Tell-el Mútesellim at the extremity of a projecting ridge of Carmel, commanding the pass seawards, four miles west of Thanach (for connection of Mageddo and Thanach cf. Jos., xi, 21; xvii, 11; Jud., i, 27; v, 19; III Kings, iv, 12; I Par., vii, 29). The ruins of citadel, gates, and walls, may date from 2500-2000 B.C. and are of extraordinary strength. At the foot of the Tell was the Roman fortress of Legio (sixth legion), now Lejjun. St. Jerome implicitly identifies Legio with Mageddo, for he calls Esdraelon now Campus Legionis (P.L., XXIII, “De Situ et Nom.”, s.v. “Arbela”, “Gabathon”, etc.), now Campus Mageddon (P.L., “In Zac.”, xii). Ya`gflt (tenth-eleventh cent.) expressly identifies them [Kitab Mu’jam il-Biildan, Wistenfeld (Leipzig, 1860), 351]. Lastly the stream at el-Le’ j 11n is still called “the source (Ras) of Cison” and perhaps is the “Waters of Mageddo” (Pal. Ex. Fund Memoirs, XI, 29; Jud., V, 19; Pseudo-Jerome in P.L., XXIII, 1327).


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